Status of Harry Reid Poker Bill

December 11, 2010

The status of Harry Reid’s controversial online poker playing bill remains up in the air. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had made a decision to not further push the legislation because there were concerns that he simply couldn’t get it passed.

Late Wednesday, however, Reid’s office denied that story claiming that Reid was still trying to get the legislation passed during this lame duck session of Congress.

Many say that an online poker bill would never get passed by the incoming new congress due to an influx of new Republicans. Republicans have generally opposed online poker playing, with three key republications writing in a letter last week that lawmakers should not “take advantage of the young, the weak and the vulnerable in the name of new revenue to cover more government spending.”

It’s believed that revenue from the bill – online poker businesses would have to pay at 20 percent tax on revenue as a licensing fee to the government – would generate nearly $300 million in tax revenue each year.

Reid and his staff believe that the only way they can get the legislation through before congress adjourns for the year is to attach the legislation to “must pass” legislation and many believe it would be the new tax cut bill that was recently worked out by the White House.

Online poker is a nearly $4.9 billion industry worldwide, with United States players contributing to about a third of that total, though it is currently illegal for online poker companies to operate in the U.S.

According to the Wall Street Journal, John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players’ Alliance, said spirits are still high and positive about passage of a bill. “Until Congress adjourns I am not saying it’s dead,” said Pappas.

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